WASHINGTON, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Wednesday stressed the importance of "effective channels of communication" between Washington and Caracas, following Venezuela 's appointment of lawmaker Calixto Ortega as its new envoy to Washington.
"With all bilateral diplomatic relationships, it's important to establish effective channels of communication between governments, so we can discuss matters of mutual concern," said State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell at a briefing here.
"The Venezuelan decision to send Calixto Ortega as their charge d'affaires in charge of the Venezuelan embassy here could be a step in that direction," he told reporters.
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's new president, on Tuesday tapped Ortega, a lawmaker from the ruling party, as the charge d'affaires at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington.
Ventrell described Ortega as someone who is "known" and "a respected participant" in a group of legislators from Venezuela and the United States, established about a decade ago to help improve bilateral relations.
"We believe it is important and timely to establish a productive relationship based on mutual interests, such as counternarcotics, counterterrorism, the energy relationship, (and) the commercial relationship," Ventrell noted.
Washington has not yet recognized Maduro as Venezuela's new president, after he was sworn in last Friday despite the Venezuelan opposition's demand for a recount of the votes. Maduro won the election by a narrow margin.
U.S.-Venezuela relations have been strained in recent years, and the two countries have not had each other's ambassadors since July 2010. But the United States remains the largest buyer of Venezuela's oil.
On Tuesday, Ventrell said that the Obama administration was not considering any sanctions on Venezuela, as the South American nation has vowed retaliation against any such moves.